Adam Bruton - Volunteer

FES Teaching Assistant  

To say ISS has had a positive impact on my life would be an understatement. It has given me a chance to tap into a part of myself I thought had been lost to me. It has resurrected a part of me I thought was dead. I know you may think I may be gilding the lily somewhat, but this me last year I was in a very dark place considering deeds due to a set back with my pension appeal. However a year forward, and thanks in a very big part to ISS, I am in a happier place, feeling fulfilled and useful. I am looking forward to things again. I have a sense of purpose again and an ambition to try new things. Not all in one go, mind you, but things are a lot more improved upon where I was this time last year.

I feel that the Charity is providing such an important role within Harlow. If I were to have a wish, I would wish for it’s profile to be higher and its role much larger, so it could reach more people. My main reason for this is to help break down the barriers and suspicions people have of newcomers to the area. I have found myself explaining the Charity’s role to quite a few people now. People who have lived in Harlow for years, or most of their lives. A few of them had negative things to say, but nearly every single one of them saying these things, found their minds changing, when I told them about some of the students I had met.

I would love to see the Charity providing more people with the opportunities our current students enjoy, on a bigger scale. I know this is easier said than done, but this is my wish for the future.


Robert Lewis  - Volunteer

FES Curriculum Developer


I began volunteering at ISS in 2016. At that time, I felt it was particularly important to support Harlow’s international community; to make them feel welcome and able to confidently communicate in English. I wanted to use my personal experience as a migrant in a foreign land and my professional experience as an English language teacher to give a hand to my neighbors.

Luckily, from the get-go, the team at ISS found a perfect role for me as an assistant teacher in the newly-formed language school. It was a great experience working with the teachers, students and staff in a friendly environment. I learned a lot from meeting people from such a diverse range of backgrounds and listing the experience on my CV was a big help in finding a teaching job abroad. When I recently returned to Harlow, visiting Mimosa, Lana and the rest of the team was the first thing on my to-do list. I’m now volunteering at ISS again and I’m happy to see the great improvements that have been made to the language school and to be working with such a wonderful bunch of people to make a positive difference in the community.

Jacqueline Atkinson - Volunteer

FES ESOL Teacher


I have been a volunteer tutor with ISS since June 2017. I retired in December 2016 after 30 years working in the NHS in Hackney North London. When I retired I was keen to try something completely different. Part of my job in the NHS was training staff and I had always enjoyed that so decided to take a CELTA course. This is  a ‘Certificate in English Teaching to Adults’.  The course was in Cambridge and was very intense! After passing the course I contacted ISS  and applied to teach as a volunteer. 
I usually teach 2 classes a week of different levels. My classes this year are a pre-entry class for complete beginners and an Entry 3 class for students who have been studying English for several years. I really enjoy the challenge and diversity of the classes - they keep me on my toes! 
The students are inspiring as they are all so eager to learn and build a life for themselves and their families in the UK. They are fun and hard working and it is very satisfying to see their English improve over the year. In return, I have learnt a lot about other cultures and languages and have also come to realise just how hard English is to learn!  
All the staff at ISS are very helpful and supportive and it’s obvious they really care about the students welfare. ISS is a very nice place to work and our new teaching room provides a well equipped classroom that’s a pleasure to teach in

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